Back-to-School Tour Highlights from Day Two

The second day of the “Education and the Economy” Midwest Back-to-School Bus Tour saw Secretary Duncan and other ED officials meeting with education stakeholders in Michigan, Indiana, and other points of the compass. Check out some of the day’s noteworthy items.

Detroit, MI
‘New Day’ Dawns in the Motor City

Secretary Duncan joined state and local leaders at the Charles H. Wright Academy of Arts and Sciences, urging Detroit to become a national leader in urban renaissance, and calling plans to help more students attend and graduate college ”about the best economic development tool the city can have.” Check out the full post.

The Nerdy Teacher Gets on the Bus.
Between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Secretary Duncan picked up Nicholas Provenzano and his student Teddy, a high school newspaper editor. Provenzano blogs about education issues and Tweets as The Nerdy Teacher. Thursday he posted this summary of his “Day of Epicness.”

Kouts, IN
No Bull.

On his Thursday visit to Kouts, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White heard from third-grader Hayden Landfadt about the student’s plans to go to college. “I’m saving money from raising a cow. Some of it will be for college, some for a car,” Landfadt said. Kouts is a rural Indiana school serving 400 elementary students and 453 in grades 6-12. Read about how “technology took center stage” during ED’s visit to the school.

Bus Tour in the News

During his bus tour to focus on education and the economy Secretary Duncan visited Detroit to recognize progress they have made to identify and improve persistently low performing schools.

“I appreciate the state being willing to step up and say, ‘Our children deserve better,’” Duncan said when he and other ED officials visited schools in Michigan on Thursday.

Calling on Detroit to turnaround schools, Duncan commended a new effort modeled on The Kalamazoo Promise, which has increased enrollment in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, and can help propel education reforms in the communities and school districts.

Meeting with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, and other state and local officials and community leaders Secretary Duncan said that thanks to cooperation among stakeholders, he is more hopeful than ever about the future of Detroit schools.

“Today, you might be able to sit at the front of the bus, but if you can’t read, you’re not free,” Duncan told an overflow crowd at the University of Michigan’s School of Education where he participated in a panel discussion on the importance of teacher preparation.

We need a new generation of great teachers who will be better prepared to start making a difference in kids’ lives on day one, Secretary Duncan told a crowd on his stop at the University of Michigan.

And, Indiana stakeholders responded to the Secretary’s call to turn around low-performing schools and equip students with the college credentials and career skills they’ll need to thrive in the global economy.

Merrillville, IN
Ready For College and Career Success in Indiana

When the Secretary brought his message about education and the economy to Northwest Indiana, he said the state – and the nation – must do better to prepare students to compete in the global marketplace. The community’s response: “we are ready” to help students succeed in college and careers.

Gary, IN
Changing the World.
Under Secretary Martha Kanter and Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White met with students at Calumet High School, which incorporated the New Tech program to prepare students for college and careers of the future. Using one-to-one computing and project-based learning, Calumet is increasing rigor and teaching students to be “young professionals” who learn problem-solving and shared responsibility by working in teams.  The New Tech program was sparked by business leaders in Napa, Calif. Several students wore t-shirts reading, “Changing Lives. Changing Learning. Changing the World.

Martha Kanter, under secretary of education, speaks to a reporter in Merrillville, Ind., following Secretary Duncan's speech. (Official Department of Education Photo by Leslie Williams)

From the Mouths of Babes. During a student/teacher roundtable discussion at Calumet New Tech High School in Gary, IN, Under Secretary Martha Kanter asked the group, “What would you tell President Obama?” Student Noah Trevino had this to offer: “America used to be an education mecca, and it needs to be again.”

Washington, DC (via Cleveland on Wednesday)
No Teacher Left Behind. Sitting near First Lady Michelle Obama at Thursday’s Presidential address to Congress was Nicole Gentile, a teacher Arne Duncan met on his bus tour in Cleveland. The Secretary tweeted on Thursday that she may lose her job due to budget cuts. He is hoping that the President’s plan to hire more teachers will pass and that the new funding will allow her school to keep her where she is needed most.

Sweet Tweets

@thenerdyteacher: On my way back from #EDTour11. Great conversation with @arneduncan and @usedgov. Maybe I’ll get a follow now. 😉

@lgoldrick25: MT @usedgov: ED’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows are on #EDTour11 hosting 16+ #teacher roundtables in 7 states. #teaching

@Joy_Resmovits: @arneduncan gets some love from the toledo federation of teachers

@jennydemonte: The UMich school of education room is packed, people sitting on stairs, standing, crouching. Plus watching the webstream #edtour11

@delta_dc: I want a summer lab school @GVSU that immerses preservice, inservice & teacher educators & kids in promising practices. #EDTour11

—Laurie Calvert, Sherry Schweitzer, and Melissa Apostolides
Office of Communications and Outreach

Follow the trail of the Back-to-School bus tour at, through #EDTour11 on Twitter and by signing up for email updates from the Department of Education.